Just the other day, my youngest wanted something. I can’t remember what, possibly another Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie or another cup of Dr. Pepper. I told him no, that he had had enough. He walked up to me and gave me puppy dog eyes. I asked him, “What’s the puppy dog eyes for?”
He batted his eyes and replied, “So I can get what I want.”
Yep, he knew what he was doing. He was giving the look of sweet, pitiful manipulation.
What is the point of manipulation? To get what we want. To control a person or situation. In either case, the root of manipulation is selfishness. Our children are selfish, not to be mean or inconsiderate of others, but many times it is just a maturity thing. They want what they want when they want it. Our job is to make sure they don’t turn out like Veruca Salt.
Some of the key things I connected with from Chapter 10 are:
- Be calm – When we are calm, our responses are are more gentle.
- Be consistent – As a teacher/mama, I see the need of consistency so much. Children need to know the expectation and know that there is a consistent response when that expectation is met or not.
- Point to Christ – Our responses should not shame our children. We should not manipulate them into doing what we want them to do. Our responses should point them to Christ.
In all of the manipulation scenarios that we will experience as parents, we need not take our children’s behavior personally. That’s hard. As a pastor’s wife, I don’t want my children to embarrass us, but I have to remember that it isn’t about me. My children are children. They are immature. They will make mistakes. It is up to me to be firm, loving, and full of grace. When I’m not, that’s what is actually embarrassing. I have to be sure I’m not acting a fool (up in here, up in here).
What are your thoughts?
What types of manipulation techniques does your child use? How do you handle them?
Is there a particular way that your child manipulates you that you either cave in or lose your cool?
What specific scripture can you use to help you when dealing with manipulation?